MANILA, Dec. 4, 2012—Based on the way legislators voted on proposed individual amendments on House Bill 4244 on Monday, many of the pro-RH solons have no qualms about enabling single men and women to benefit from taxpayer-funded contraceptives that the P3.7 billion measure seeks to provide to the public.
In a line-by-line process of going through the measure which ended at around 10 p.m., Cebu Representative Pablo Garcia proposed several individual amendments pertaining to the insertion of phrases on the sanctity of the family and the protection of life of the mother and unborn from conception.
However, it became clear that “responsible parenthood” was farthest from the minds of those who shot down the proposed amendment which would have included only married couples among the recipients of free birth control supplies and services.
In its current version, the “Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development Act of 2011” states in the Declaration of Policy (Section 2):
“The State recognizes and guarantees the exercise of the universal basic human right to reproductive health by all persons particularly of parents, couples and women, consistent with their religious convictions, cultural beliefs and the demands of responsible parenthood.”
Pangasinan Representative Kimi Cojuangco and Gabriela Representative Luzviminda Ilagan were among those who voted “no” to the amendment, with the former citing the presence of unmarried couples living together as an indication of the proposed revision’s unsuitability. Ilagan regarded the proposed amendment as “discriminatory” towards unmarried people.
“Now we can see that billions in taxpayers’ money will be used to give condoms and contraceptives to even high school kids. Wow, ang galing na ‘responsible parenthood’ bill ah!” said an observer after the six-hour session ended.
The tackling of amendments will continue today, with the session expected to run for many hours again, due to the enthusiasm with which RH bill proponents have pushed toward passage of the measure.
“It really seems that Pnoy provided much motivation for them to ensure that the bill is passed,” one university student remarked from outside the plenary hall, referring to the meeting between President Benigno Aquino III and his allies in Congress, which took place earlier that day. (CBCP for Life)